A Puerto Rican jury on Friday found former Olympic boxer Felix Verdejo Sanchez guilty of kidnapping and killing his pregnant girlfriend Keishla Rodriguez. According to a press release, Mr Verdejo, a lightweight contender who represented Puerto Rico at the 2012 Olympic games, abducted Ms Rodriguez and threw her off a bridge in San Juan in April 2021, when she plummeted to her death. Her body was found in a lagoon in the US territory’s capital a few days after she was reported missing.
The Puerto Rican jury issued a verdict after a one-month trial of the former athlete. They charged the 30-year-old with kidnapping resulting in death, carjacking resulting in death, intentionally killing an unborn child and possession of a weapon during a violent crime after Ms Rodriguez was found in a lagoon in San Juan.
The jury determined that Mr Verdejo, along with his co-defendant Luis Antonio Cadiz-Martinez, committed the kidnapping that resulted in the death of Ms Rodriguez and her unborn child.
According to the court documents, Mr Verdejo executed a premeditated plan to murder Ms Rodriguez and her unborn child by luring her into his car. He punched her, injected her with drugs and then tied her with metal wire to a cement block. The former boxer then drove the victim to a bridge in San Juan, where with the help of his co-defendant he threw Ms Rodriguez into the lagoon. He later jumped into the lagoon in order to finish murdering both victims, the documents read.
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“We stand firmly with the family of Keishla Rodriguez Ortiz and all those in the community who sought justice for this senseless, cruel, and heinous act of premeditated and cold-blooded violence against Keishla and her unborn child,” US Attorney Stephen Muldrow said in a news release.
According to The Washington Post, Mr Verdejo, who is married and has a young daughter, remained expressionless as the jury’s verdict was read, while Ms Rodriguez’s family hugged and cried. “May he live the rest of his life thinking about everything he did to my daughter,” Rodriguez’s father, Jose Antonio Rodriguez, said after the verdict.
Mr Verdejo, who had denied the wrongdoing, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and charged on May 2, 2021. His sentencing is now scheduled for November 3. He faced a maximum sentence of life in prison for the four felonies he was originally charged with.
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